This Q&A about whether you should tell your Owners Corporation about your pet has been supplied by Jane Giacobbe, Strata Reports Victoria.
Question: We’ve just moved into our new apartment in Victoria with our cat and find out we have to apply for a pet. What are the risks if we don’t tell them we have a cat? Can they refuse permission for a pet in our apartment?
We have just moved into our new apartment. Settlement was a few months ago and we’ve just received the Owners Corporation rules. There is a clause that states that I must write to the Owners Corporation for permission to have a pet.
I have one cat. The cat is strictly indoors. She’s not even allowed on the balcony, so I feel it is unnecessary to even invite the possibility of having permission denied by submitting a request.
The apartment is a double story, 3 bedroom townhouse so she’s hardly confined to a small space. The most nuisance she could possibly cause would be sitting at the window.
Our current plan is to not inform our OC that we have a cat. Should we tell them we have a pet? Can you outline the risks of not telling them we have a cat?
As far as I understand, landlords are not even permitted to deny pets to their tenants so how can an OC deny a pet to an owner of a property?
Answer: It would be in your best interest to comply with the rules governing your owners corporation and write a letter requesting to keep your cat within your unit.
We would suggest letting the “cat out of the bag” 😊
It would be in your best interest to comply with the rules governing your owners corporation and write a letter requesting to keep your cat within your unit. You just need to let them know that you had not received all of the correct information before purchasing and you have only just become aware of this rule.
Generally, a rule such as this would exist to ensure that the owners corporation are carrying out good governance and are aware of what pets are being kept at the property, as well as setting conditions around the pet’s behaviour and transportation through the common areas.
It would be fair to say that most owners corporations understand that pets are dearly loved members of a family and they would just want to make sure that they are setting good governance around the keeping of pets for everyone.
Here is an interesting reference from Nicole Wilde (Owners Corporation Lawyer) to a VCAT hearing in 2016 which found that the owners corporation rule prohibiting pets being kept in private lots invalid.
It is also very important to note that you should have received a copy of the rules prior to settlement and in fact at the very early stages of your property purchase.
These should be obtained when an owners corporation or strata inspection report is carried out and all of the books and records are viewed or within your contract of sale.
This is imperative to ensure that as a purchaser you are aware of everything that is happening within the owners corporation you are buying into and you can avoid any unnecessary stresses and enjoy your new home.
- Pets in Owners Corporations in Victoria
- VIC: Q&A Bullying and Harassment by One Lot Owner in Our Small Scheme
This post appears in Strata News #256
Have a question about permission for a pet in your new apartment or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.